Whether you’re gaming or working, having the best computer monitor on your desk can make a huge difference. So we went out and found the top computer monitors for you, researching key features and customer sentiment to give you the big picture on this vital computer accessory.
During our research, we looked for features such as adjustable stands, color gamut, color space, screen sizes, image quality, response times, peak brightness, screen types, resolution and more. As we did our research, we paid attention to not only the features of these monitors but how the specs of each would reflect in gaming, working in a spreadsheet , watching movies (aka Netflix), or editing graphics. From that and combining it with our proprietary scoring system we determined that the LG 34UM69G-B 34″ Ultra Wide Monitor is the best monitor you can buy today. This ultra-wide monitor has everything for the most versatile experience. With ultra-low response rates, an ultra-high resolution and a sleek design, this LG monitor beat out everything else. Keep reading to learn more about this display and our other top picks.
Top 5 Computer Monitors Compared
#1 LG 34UM69G-B 34″ Monitor
Award: Top Pick/Best Gaming
WHY WE LIKE IT: The LG 34UM69G-B gives you an ultra-wide viewing experience that’s perfect for gaming and work. You’ll also get a super fast response rate and AMD Free Sync functionality for an even smoother experience.
- Ultra widescreen display
- Super fast 1ms response rate
- AMD Free Sync
- Not a 4K HDR monitor
- Low 75 Hz refresh rate
- Only one HDMI port
If you’re interested in jumping on the widescreen monitor train, the LG 34UM69G-B is a computer monitor you won’t want to pass up. Measuring in at a whopping 34 inches of total display, the LG offers a 21:9 aspect ratio that is perfect for gaming. And while this isn’t a top 4K monitor – which is the ultimate best for gaming monitors – you still get a 2560 x 1080 resolution. You also get a 1ms response time and AMD FreeSync, both of which enhance gameplay by eliminating stuttering and motion blur. If 34 inches is too big of a display for you, you can take it down a notch by considering one of the best 27 inch monitors.
Related: Check out our best business monitor guide.
Unfortunately, the 34UM69G-B only offers a 75 Hz refresh rate, which isn’t as fast as we’d like to see when on a monitor for gaming that thrives on high refresh power delivery, like the best 240 Hz monitor. This means you might see some blurring during, particularly fast-action moments. The Free-Sync monitor is fully adjustable, allowing you to tilt the monitor side to side and front to back, as well as adjust the height. It has a USB-C connectivity port but you’ll only get a single HDMI port and a single Display Port, though, so you won’t be able to hook up many devices. Many ultra-wide monitors are curved gaming monitors, and this one isn’t, but we actually liked this more than the curved gaming monitors we tested. The curve is definitely “in” right now, but we were more than happy with the traditional approach the LG takes. Gamers will want to read best gaming monitors under $200.
#2 HP VH240a 24″ Monitor
Award: Honorable Mention/Best HP
WHY WE LIKE IT: With nearly nonexistent bevels and impressive picture quality at a budget price, the HP VH240a is a stellar option for anyone looking to improve their desk set up in their home office.
- Almost invisible bezels
- Wide viewing angles
- Image quality is crisp and vibrant
- Large base can be awkward with limited space
- No DisplayPort
- Onboard computer speakers offer mediocre sound quality
For starters, this HP computer monitor looks great with its edge-to-edge display and sleek black design. It’s subtle and understated, making it an excellent choice for your home office. The best part is that it’s also got the performance to back up its excellent design. When you get working, you’ll immediately notice the crisp image and vibrant color reproduction level you should come to expect on full HD IPS displays like this. Unfortunately, if you try to watch movies or play games with this LED-lit monitor, you might notice more motion blur than you’re used to due to its 60 Hz refresh rate.
Related: Also see our best curved gaming monitors.
However, wide viewing angles and accurate colors (72%sRGB color gamut) more than make up for the low refresh rate. It’s also nice to be able to adjust the monitor in the way you want. You can tilt it forward and back or flip it 90 degrees for landscape and portrait mode. Another plus is the monitor’s extremely thin bezel making it virtually frameless, which provides for a seamless multi-monitor setup. Just be aware that the monitor doesn’t feature any DisplayPorts, so you’ll have to stick with HDMI cables, which we didn’t find to be too inconvenient. If you are a gamer who uses Sony’s console, the best gaming monitor for PS4 is worth a read.
#3 Acer R240HY 24″ Monitor
Award: Best Full HD IPS
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Acer R240HY is an excellent and versatile computer monitor that performs well in home office, business office or gaming applications. With its impressive color accuracy and evocative design at an extra-affordable price, the Acer is hard to beat.
- Colors look great
- Edge-to-edge display
- Matte-finished screen for less glare
- No DisplayPort or USB ports
- Tilt-only adjustments
- Not compatible with VESA mounts
The Acer R240HY is a monitor full HD 1080p display that performs really well when it comes to color accuracy, viewing angles, and design quality…all at an affordable price under $200. It offers a maximum brightness level of 250 nits of brightness, and can be adjusted or reset to default. It also features a matte-finished screen, which does really well in eliminating glare from background lighting, making it an excellent choice amongst affordable monitors for home and business office applications. You may want to check out the best monitors for Xbox One X as well.
The overall design of the Acer is sturdy and durable. This is due in part to the fact that you can only tilt the screen forward or back a minimal amount. We consider this a win when you think about overall stability, but the lack of adjustability can make it difficult for some to find a comfortable viewing angle that works with their personal preferences. All in all, the Acer R240HY is one of the best 1080p monitors we’ve tested, which is why this excellent display made our list of top picks. And if you’re looking for gaming on Acer, you might want to check out the R240HY’s cousin, the Acer Predator XB1.
#4 Dell E2318Hx 23″ Monitor
Award: Best Value/Best for Work Offices
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Dell E318Hx might be the most common computer monitor you see in office spaces, and for good reason. It offers performance on a budget with low response times, wide viewing angles and low energy consumption when compared to other models.
- Low energy consumption
- Great response times
- Super affordable
- Limited color gamut
- No ergonomic adjustments
- Disappointing color accuracy
When you’re buying monitors to do some work on for your job, you want reliability, durability, and performance…without having to pay a million bucks for it. That’s where the Dell E2318Hx comes in. Within a comfortable price range, and with great response times and multitasking capabilities, there’s no better choice for a work monitor than the Dell. There’s a reason this computer monitor is one of the most popular choices for businesses. It features a simple design that’s super easy to use and set up. Unfortunately, the display can’t be adjusted too much, but its image quality makes up for this oversight.
The Dell monitor is a full HD IPS panel that looks good for most applications. However, it doesn’t always offer the most accurate color representation, so if you’re using this for color-critical projects like photo editing, you might want to look elsewhere for a new monitor. For the average user, though, this monitor performs just fine, especially when you consider its low input lag. There’s no hesitation between a user’s action and that action being carried out on the screen. If you’re looking for budget monitors for your office, this is the one for you. Also read about the best 144Hz gaming monitors.
#5 Sceptre E205W-16003R 20″ Monitor
Award: Best Budget/Best 20 Inch
WHY WE LIKE IT: Are you looking for the best monitor you can buy for the absolutely lowest price? Then the Sceptre E205W-1600 is the monitor for you with its decent overall performance and versatile connection options.
- Very inexpensive
- DVI, HDMI, VGA inputs
- Good built-in speakers
- Not full HD resolution
- No DisplayPort
- Slow response times
When you buy a monitor that is priced as low as the Sceptre E205W-1600, you can always expect to win some and lose some. Sure, you might not get a gaming-quality display here, but it still provides decent response rates (5ms) and plenty of connectivity options (2x HDMI ports, 1x DVI port, 1x VGA port). The Sceptre offers a surprisingly stylish design without being too flashy and it looks good on any desk.
Unfortunately, you won’t get full HD with this display. The Sceptre only provides a resolution of 1600×900, which sits somewhere between 720p and 1080p resolution. However, you’ll still get fairly decent color accuracy and a good picture, especially considering the price. If you’re on an extra-tight budget that absolutely cannot be broken, the Sceptre E205W-1600 is an excellent choice. These are some of the features that make up the best 4K gaming monitor.
Beginners Guide To Computer Monitors
When looking for the best computer monitor, it’s important to know the different types available. These include monitors for general use, portable monitors, gaming, and professional use. From there, you can consider the display features you need, such as size, resolution, and whether you want a flat or curved monitor. Always make sure that the monitor you’re looking at has video connectors that work with your current computer and that it is compatible with your operating system. Selecting a monitor that’s best for your needs based on those criteria is the best way to make the right choice. Read more about this in our computer monitor buying guide.
What Exactly Is A Computer Monitor, Anyway?
What is a computer monitor? Simply put, a computer monitor is a device that displays visual information fed to it by a computer’s video card (aka graphics card). Computer monitors come in a wide variety of sizes, to suit creative professionals and more casual users. Displays are also available in a number of types, including LCD panels, OLED displays, and CRT monitors. Each of the aforementioned display types offers its own advantages and disadvantages (like an LCD display and backlight bleeding). Modern computer monitors often ship with a number of useful additional features, including Bluetooth receivers, USB hubs, microphones, stereo speakers, and more.
Stat – In 1984, approximately 8% of American households reported owning at least one computer. By 2016, that number had risen to 89%. – U.S. Census Bureau 2018
How The Parts Of A Monitor Work
A computer monitor is a visual output device that converts and displays information relayed to it from a PC. Monitors generally connect to a computer’s video card or motherboard via an HDMI or VGA cable. There are three major types of monitors, CRT displays, LCD displays, and OLED displays, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some modern monitors ship with all kinds of built-in accessories, including cameras, microphones, speakers, USB hubs, and more. Read more about how computer monitors work.
The Purpose Of A Monitor
Monitors are particularly useful in the business world, especially when accessing software such as Microsoft Excel. Creative professionals also demand high-quality monitors and often go for dual-monitor setups to maximize screen real estate. Computer monitors are also a must-have for gaming applications. When gamers shop for a monitor they should go for quality, choosing displays with a high refresh rate and minimal lag time. You can read more about the purpose of a computer monitor in our feature.
Is It Worth Buying A Monitor With The Latest Technology?
The quick answer: it depends on what you’re doing and it depends on how old your existing monitor is. If you don’t own already own a computer monitor, then the question is what is the right features for your needs. With that in mind, if you’re a gamer or work in a specialized field. , you’ll want to scrutinize the monitor your purchasing, making sure it’s compatible with your PC and that it will maximize your experience. In the last few years there has been an improvement in both resolution, refresh rates as well as color accuracy.
Can I Just Use A TV Instead Of A Monitor?
Connecting your PC to a TV to use as a monitor is a straightforward process. Check what kind of ports your TV and computer use for video and audio connection. Yes, there are plenty of ports, but make sure they’re the right ones. Once you do, you can find the right cable to connect the devices to each other. After connecting, switch the TV input or source to the port that you just plugged the cable into. Improve the image on the screen by adjusting the display settings of your computer. For a more detailed breakdown of this process, read our feature on how to use a TV as a monitor.
How Long Do Monitors Last? – Generally speaking, a traditional computer display should last anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 hours of use. This translates to 10 to 20 years of continuous use, assuming that you use a computer monitor for roughly eight hours per day.
How To Choose A Computer Monitor
If you’re in the market for a computer monitor, the number of options can seem overwhelming. That said, we can help you make sense of the essentials for choosing a computer monitor.
Step 1. What Monitor Size Should You Get?
Computers use a number of typical monitor sizes. The smallest displays clock in at around 21-inches while the largest can be 30-inches and above. Gamers should purchase a monitor that is at least 25-inches and could also go with a dual-monitor setup. This always brings up the question of 24 vs 27-inch monitors and if a 27-inch display is in fact better. Creative professionals should opt for a monitor of at least 25-inches. Those who mostly stream media content can make do with any-sized monitor, but we would recommend a display of at least 27-inches to improve the overall experience. Habitual streamers may also opt for an ultrawide display (aka ultrawide monitor).
Step 2. What Monitor Resolution Do You Need?
Determining screen resolution gives you an instant understanding of how many pixels are in a display and whether or not it’s compatible with your needs. Someone who works in graphic arts, is a gamer, or a cinema buff might prefer a premium screen resolution for crisper images and better color display. Along with the pixel count, you need to consider the refresh rate. Going further, you’ll likely want to understand how a 1080p vs 4k monitor compares.
Specifically, gamers and graphic designers should opt for a refresh rate of 75Hz or higher. Meanwhile, people focused on full HD quality displays should prioritize a minimum of 1080p resolution for screens ranging from 21 to 24 inches wide. As a general rule though, the more pixels in a screen, the better the resolution or display will look. So it’s important to understand what is a computer monitor resolution.
Stat – The most common computer monitor resolution in the US in 2020 was 1920×1080, having a market share of 20.66%. –StatCounter
Step 3. Which Display Technology Is Best For You?
- There are three popular screen types available today, they include LED, OLED, and QLED. Most computer monitors, tablets, and laptop screens use TFT-LCD technology, but they are also different. And whatever you do, try to understand the differences between LCD vs LED monitors. They’re not mutually exclusive.
- LCDs are of different types, with each option having its drawbacks and strengths. Ideally, you have to select a VA, IPS, or TN technology when purchasing a monitor. The right choice will depend on your needs. For example, if you are a gamer, certain types of games work with different technologies. Other technologies are better suited to give out solid image quality if visuals are crucial to you.
- Lastly, there are both advantages and disadvantages with each technology. All you have to do is identify the essential attributes and then state your budget. You can read more about the best monitor panel types in our resource article.
Step 4. Which Refresh Rate Is Best?
A monitor’s refresh rate refers to the number of times new images are loaded every second. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the overall image. We recommend monitors with a minimum refresh rate of 60Hz for basic multitasking (emails, spreadsheets, browsing the web) and a minimum of 120 Hz for high-intensity applications such as gaming and watching movies. Note, the type of panel (TN, VA, or IPS) also factors into refresh rate performance as well, with TN panels reaching as high as a 240Hz refresh rate. Most panels fall in the 60 to 75Hz range. Some sit higher with a 144hz or 100hz refresh rate. You can read more about what is a monitor’s refresh rate in our breakdown.
FreeSync And G-Sync Technologies Compared
NVIDIA G-Sync and FreeSync are both adaptive display technologies that improve gaming image quality for a more immersive experience. FreeSync is solid and open-source but not as effective as Nvidia’s G-Sync. However, G-sync monitors tend to be more expensive as the technology requires the manufacturer to pay a licensing fee. But alas, it’s not that simple. There are additional give and takes to both types of technology so be sure to read more about it in our G-sync vs Freesync article.
Understanding Response Time
A computer monitor’s response time is a key factor in how it performs. Specifically, it is the amount of time it takes for one color to change to another. Generally, a response time of five milliseconds or less is required for avid gamers. However, anything less than that may not affect one’s overall reaction to the game. Some eyes are more discerning than others when it comes to telling response times.
Step 5. Which Type Of Monitor Video Connector Will I Need?
Many types of monitor ports/connectors enable the smooth transfer of data, signals, and information such as HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C port, VGA, and DVI. Each has their own respective strengths and are newer than others, accommodating high-resolution images, wider aspect ratios, and greater bandwidth support. HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C cable and ports are typically assigned to newer devices and VGA/DVI are limited to older devices. The best monitor port depends on your needs.
Step 6. How Important Is Monitor Viewing Angle?
Proper monitor positioning for comfortable, safe, productive use over long periods of time is an essential part of any professional’s daily work toolkit. Improper viewing angle, viewing distance, and excessive head tilt can lead to eye strain, increased fatigue, and even spinal strain, even over periods of less than a full workday. A downward cast of 15-30 degrees below the eye line from a resting position will allow for the best viewing range. The result will be the least eye strain and involuntary head tilt possible. But attention should also be paid to viewing distance, which should be no closer than 20″ from viewer to display. Follow these viewing angle guidelines when positioning your monitor and you’ll make the most of your workday in terms of both comfort and productivity.
Step 7. How Important Is Brightness And Contrast?
If you use your monitor in a bright room or location, you will want a monitor to adjust your monitor’s brightness setting to exceed or offset the excessive light in the spacing. To that end, make sure you also understand contrast ratio and don’t be misled by dynamic contrast ratio in a monitor.
Step 8. Should I Get A Curved Or Flat Monitor?
Curved monitors are great for immersion and for accessing the 21:9 aspect ratio. Conversely, flat monitors are cheaper and include a more universal design. Make sure you understand the difference between a curved monitor vs a flat monitor with respect to your use case. Not all things are equal.
Step 9. Do I Need A Gaming Monitor Or A Regular Monitor?
- Gaming monitors are purpose-built for modern gaming applications, so you will find higher refresh rates and faster response times.
- Regular computer monitors, however, tend to offer higher resolutions, with many offering 4K.
Read more about this topic in our comparison article gaming monitor vs computer monitors.
Step 10. How Much Should I Expect To Spend On A Monitor?
Modern computer monitors can fluctuate wildly when it comes to price, with some models as cheap as $50 and others costing $1000 or more. The average computer monitor costs around $200 – $300. There are some features and functionalities that can severely impact the price, which you can understand more in our feature that unpacks how much a computer monitor costs. Nevertheless, finding a reasonable price comes down to your budget and understanding what features will meet your needs.
Stat – In 2020, the average desktop PC lifespan in the US was estimated to be longer than six years. –Statista
Step 11. Does color space, color gamut, refresh rate, and response time matter?
In short: yes. But it depends on your use case. Color gamut and color space will become a much greater dependency for those editing graphics or video. On the other hand, refresh rate and response time are key components more to do with gaming and have a direct relationship with one and other. More specifically, if you’re going to purchase a 144hz monitor, look for a 5ms or lower response time. Whereas with a 240hz monitor, look for a 2ms or lower response time.
Different Types Of Computer Monitors
There are a number of different monitor types available, each useful for different sets of consumers. CRT monitors are the oldest of the bunch and are typically used to play retro video games. LCD displays are the most common, making up the vast majority of consumer-grade displays, due to their relatively inexpensive cost to manufacture. LED monitors are a subset of LCD, typically offering an increased resolution and brighter colors. Finally, there are OLED monitors, which offer an unparalleled experience but are extremely expensive.
- Gaming Monitors
- 1080p Gaming Monitors
- 1080p 144Hz Monitors
- 165Hz Refresh Rate Monitors
- Curved Gaming Monitors
- 27-Inch Gaming Monitors
- Console Gaming Monitors
By Refresh Rate
Top Computer Monitor Brands
DELL is known to some as the best monitor company in the world. Samsung is also a pioneer in the field. The company focuses on providing the best-LED monitor with the ideal TN panel. On the other hand, LG offers stylish 4K monitors while ASUS designs screens with great color and picture quality. In addition, you can purchase long-lasting monitors from HP and get the highest contrast ratio screens from Acer. Finally, when it comes to gaming, BenQ is king.
- HP Monitors
- Acer Monitors
- BenQ Monitors
- Samsung Monitors
- Lenovo Monitors
- AOC Monitors
- Dell Monitors
- Gigabtye Monitor
- LG Monitors
- Phillips Monitors
Owning A Computer Monitor
Connecting A Monitor To A Computer
Connecting your PC desktop or Mac tower to a monitor is easier than ever, with more universally plug-n-play connection types like HDMI, DVI, USB-C, and DisplayPort than in years past. While some computer and monitor combinations may require the additional purchase of an adapter like HDMI to DVI or USB-C to DisplayPort, adaptors are generally inexpensive and are easily available in a wide variety of combinations by most retailers and manufacturers. Once you’re connected, it’s always a good idea to look at your system settings to make sure everything is working as intended. And if you’re thinking about this, you might be wondering how to set up dual monitors.
Cleaning Your Monitor
Cleaning a computer monitor is a simple process, though there are some definitive rules to follow to ensure the longevity of your display. Be sure to power down the monitor before beginning the cleaning process, especially if you are using water or another cleaning agent. Use a microfiber cloth and take long and smooth strokes to eliminate dust. If grime persists, we recommend using water instead of a harsh cleaning solution. Once your display is clean, be sure to give it enough time to fully dry before powering it on again.
Top Accessories For Computer Monitors
The best computer monitor accessories enhance the overall user experience. There are plenty of accessories from which to choose, but they can all improve user-friendliness, ergonomics, and aesthetics. This is a long list, so check out our best computer monitor accessory guide for more info.
Troubleshooting And Repairing A Computer Monitor
When it comes to fixing a computer monitor, there can be a number of reasons why it won’t work. The first thing you need to do is identify if any image can be displayed on the screen. This usually happens when there is no signal being sent to the monitor despite it being powered on. If the case is such, you’ll want to read how to fix a monitor without a signal. Another common issue is that the refresh rate is incorrectly set, which simply requires modifying the refresh rate settings. First, learn how to check your monitor’s refresh rate.